We all remember Popeye cartoons when we were kids. And we remember the rather cantankerous girlfriend (or was she his wife?) of Popeye. She always seemed to be complaining, was never happy with things, and just made everyone’s life miserable.
Olive Oyl arms are basically arms that just have nothing to them. Whether they’re little more than skin and bones because people are not working out, or just because they have bad genes, you can often see these in the gym.
When I see people at the gym doing the same old arm and bicep exercises over and over again, and see them also expect different results, I’m just astonished. The biceps that never seem to get bigger will continue to remain the same size and shape if you keep doing the same incorrect workouts over and over. After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
So stop your insane workout, learn what works, and begin watching in amazement as your Olive Oyl arms vanish faster than a can of spinach down Popeye’s throat.
l Standing Barbell Curls: These exercises are great for working both arms at the same time, but many people simply do so many things incorrectly that they’re often wasting their time. You’ve always got to start with a shoulder-width stance, your feet planted firmly on the floor. You should only be moving your forearms when you’re doing this exercise, not your whole body. Raise and lower the bar slowly; building muscles is not a race. Don’t use the bar’s own momentum to aid you, that’s called cheating. If you can’t do that, then you’ve got too much weight.
l Standing Dumbbell Curls: I personally like to mix it up with my bicep workouts, and I’ll often do a set of barbell curls followed by one of dumbbell curls. It’s always best to keep your muscles guessing, after all. You want to pound them with something they didn’t see coming. The main thing I see people doing wrong with these exercises involves their elbows. There’s nothing funny about this part of your arm swinging out as you curl the weight up toward your shoulder. You should always keep your elbow pressed firmly against your side at all times during your curl, from raising to lowering. This will isolate your bicep muscle, which is what you want, right?
One of the exercises I most like to do with my biceps involves the standing dumbbell curls. I take the heaviest weight that I can curl 8 to 10 times with perfect form. After I’ve done those reps, I immediately switch to the next lower weight on the rack and do 6 to 8 reps. I then quickly switch to the next lowest, or even a little bit lower if my arms are really feeling it, and do 3-5 reps. By that time it’s difficult to lift the weight, even if it’s only 10kg.
After that I switch to my other arm and repeat the process. This is a great way to work both arms individually, and if you’re using proper form and keeping your elbows tucked into your sides, you’ll really feel the burn.
When you begin to do these exercises properly, you won’t have to worry about Olive Oyl arms at the gym anymore. Now, about those chicken legs…